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    Mikel Arteta happy to ditch ‘the Arsenal Way’ in order to end the Gunners nightmare Anfield run against Liverpool

    MIKEL ARTETA is putting ‘the Arsenal Way’ on the back burner as he bids to end the club’s Anfield nightmare this evening.
    The Gunners have conceded a staggering 30 goals in their last eight visits to Liverpool and haven’t won there since 2012 when Arteta was still a player.

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    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is prepared to adjust his tactics to who they are playingCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    But they did beat Jurgen Klopp’s Champions at the Emirates in July and triumphed in a penalty shoot-out in the Community Shield last month.
    And on both occasions they were happy to allow Liverpool to dominate possession and punish their opponents on the break.
    It is a tactic which Arteta has consistently used against their ‘Big Six’ opponents since coming out of lockdown.
    And he makes no apologies for upsetting the Arsenal purists who grew up on Arsene Wenger’s team passing the opposition to death.
    When the Gunners won 2-1 against the newly-crowned Champions in July, they managed just 31 percent possession.
    Three days later they beat Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final with just 29 percent.
    But Areteta insists: “I’m here to win and my job is finding ways to do it.

    “Sometimes it’s what you want to do as a coach and sometimes it’s what you’re allowed to do with the levels of players and performance that the top teams can do against you.
    “In the games against Liverpool, City and against Chelsea in the FA Cup final, we obviously had very long periods where we had to defend deeper than we would like to.

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    The feel-good factor is back at Arsenal under ArtetaCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    “So we have to find scenarios to prepare for that and if I propose something very difficult that would expose our team right now, I wouldn’t be acting in the best interests of the club or the players.
    “We have to be able to adapt and the players we have available can change our game plan.
    “Playing only one way doesn’t work in football anymore unless you are superior to the opponent all the time.”
    Prior to Arteta’s appointment, Arsenal had a woeful record against their top of the table rivals and were often beaten before the game had even kicked-off.

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    Arsenal seem to be more united under their former player ArtetaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    But recent victories have convinced the players that they can hold their own against anyone and Arteta admits: “Results are obviously driving our belief.
    “The players have to be comfortable with the plan we put in place. They need to realise that we can achieve what we want and then they will feel more secure and know what is going to happen.”
    Arsenal’s fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the better since Arteta opted for three at the back since coming out of lockdown.
    That also involves two wing-backs, two defensive midfielders and just three attacking players, which leaves no room for the likes of Mesut Ozil.
    But Arteta insists: “It’s not three at the back all the time. It’s only for short moments of the game. A lot of the time it’s four at the back.
    “I have the versatility to use players in different positions to cause problems for the opponent.”

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    Arteta is preparing his players for their big game against the champions LiverpoolCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Yet in spite of their recent successes against Liverpool, Arteta acknowledges that tonight’s game will be the toughest test yet of his brief managerial career.
    “We know the standards that Liverpool have set in this league because they dominate almost every aspect of the game,” he says.
    “They come at you like quick waves all the time without much time to breathe and with no long sequences of passes.”
    To make life even more difficult for Arsenal, they will be back at Anfield on Thursday night for their Carabao Cup fourth round clash.

    Arteta says: “It is difficult to play against any team twice in four days.
    When you talk about Liverpool, that challenge is much bigger
    “Obviously having no supporters will make a difference because it’s a unique atmosphere at Anfield and makes the team stronger.
    “But we’ve seen how they are able to play without crowds so we know the challenge ahead of us.
    “We are in different moments as clubs with the success Liverpool have had in the Champions League and the Premier League.
    “Performances on the pitch have generated financial power but you still have to recruit the right players and Liverpool have done that.
    “They have implemented a vision and a strategy that is really clear. They have made a lot of good decisions to become successful.”

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    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta worried Prem stars leaving coronavirus bubble for international games could be ‘bad news’

    MIKEL ARTETA fears “bad news” when players leave the Premier League’s Covid-19 bubble to go on international duty next month.
    It was Arteta’s positive test back in March that led to English football shutting down completely, until strict protocols were put in place to allow some games to resume behind closed doors.

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    Mikel Arteta fears next month’s international break could spell trouble for players leaving the Premier League’s coronavirus bubble

    But the Prem was dealt another major warning when West Ham boss David Moyes and his players Josh Cullen and Issa Diop discovered they were positive before the Hammers’ Carabao Cup win over Hull on Tuesday.
    The Gunners head coach Arteta said: “We have much more information right now than we had many months ago when that happened.
    “The bubbles that the Premier League, the clubs and the Government have been able to create to try to keep everybody as safe as possible are working really, really well.
    “But we all know that the issue is still there.

    “It is not going away and we have to keep the same approach and be always very careful, very conservative and try to maintain this business because it is really important in many, many aspects.
    “We are lucky in our profession that we have found a way. Not many professions can say that.
    “Let’s respect that and try to keep going in the best possible way.
    “Obviously when everyone has to fly away to very different countries, I think at the moment it’s a little bit of an experience.
    “We don’t know what the outcome is. We want to believe that they are going to follow a lot of things that are implemented and working well so fingers crossed we don’t get any bad news.”
    The good news for Arteta on the pitch is that he goes into tomorrow’s clash against Jurgen Klopp’s champions Liverpool with a 100 per cent record.
    Arsenal beat the Reds at the Emirates in July and in the Community Shield in the penalty shootout victory at Wembley last month.
    But Arteta knows his side face a huge challenge to close the 43-point gap between the two clubs at the end of last season.
    The Gunners boss said: “I don’t know if in football history someone has closed a gap of 43 points, if they maintain the same level, in just a few months.
    “What you are expecting to do is be much better and more consistent and then they can drop the level a little bit, and then the gap is not that big.

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    “But I don’t see any complacency [in Liverpool].
    “They go to any ground, even when they are 2-0 up, 3-0 up, 4-0 up, and they still go in the same way.
    “This is an incredible credit to the coaching team, the culture they have created and the spirit of that team.
    “There is not one player that plays half-half on the day, that is not very interested or just plays for moments in the game.
    “They just go for it, every single minute of every game.
    “Throughout the season to do that for ten months, that’s a massive compliment I think.”
    Former Manchester City No 2 Arteta has received plenty of praise for his work to date at Arsenal but there is much more to do to compete with Liverpool at the top of the table.

    He said: “That is a different level. They have done that in the Premier League and in the Champions League as well.
    “And that is why they raised the bar so high.
    “Not only them, Manchester City as well in recent years.
    “That is the level and you have to be able to compete at that level because this is our context and this is our reality.”
    ARSENAL (likely): Leno, Bellerin, Gabriel, Holding, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceballos,  Maitland-Niles, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

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    Arsenal ratings: Bukayo Saka and goalscorer Eddie Nketiah star but Kolasinac struggles as Gunners win in Carabao Cup

    MIKEL ARTETA just loves playing in the cup.
    His side edged past Leicester 2-0 to secure their spot in the Carabao Cup fourth round.

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    Christian Fuchs’ own goal broke the deadlockCredit: AP:Associated Press

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    Arsenal celebrate taking the lead against LeicesterCredit: AP:Associated Press

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    Eddie Nketiah stabs home Arsenal’s second goalCredit: AFP or licensors

    The performance was far from convincing as a second-string side failed to light up the King Power.
    Nicolas Pepe’s perseverance ended in Christian Fuchs’ own goal after the break and Arsenal did not secure the win until Eddie Nketiah stabbed in on 90 minutes.
    SunSport’s Josh Graham serves up his player ratings for the Gunners.
    Bernd Leno – 6/10
    Important early block from Kelechi Iheanacho reminded Gooners why Arteta was prepared to sell long-serving shot-stopper Emi Martinez to Aston Villa.
    Got away with one when he was left in no man’s land as James Maddison’s gorgeous chip hit the woodwork.
    Rob Holding – 5
    Struggled with the pace of Leicester’s attack at times, perhaps surprised to still be on the books at the Emirates after strong rumours of a move to Newcastle on loan.
    David Luiz – 6
    A mature performance from the skipper on the night – biggest challenge came from his own keeper who clocked him with an elbow in the first period.

    Sead Kolasinac – 4

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    Sead Kolasinac struggled for ArsenalCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Looked like a man who wants to be elsewhere with talk he is keen to go back to Schalke.
    Lost the run of Ayoze Perez who should have buried a free header late on.
    Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 5
    Not his most impactful appearance, struggled to get to grips with Demarai Gray early on.
    Sloppy on the ball at points and saw far less of him than Bukayo Saka going forward.
    Joe Willock – 5
    A rare start in the centre of the park and truth be told Willock didn’t really make the most of it.
    Mohamed Elneny – 5
    Found it tough up against James Maddison, did little to stop one wondering where Mesut Ozil is.
    Bukayo Saka – 8

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    Bukayo Saka impressed yet again for ArsenalCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Provided a constant threat going forward down the left and should have had an assist in the 20th minute when he flashed a delicious ball across the box.
    Beautiful feet and interplay surely should have won his side a first-half penalty but he was denied a stonewaller with VAR not in play.
    Quieter after the break but the 19-year-old continues to show his excellent versatility.
    Nicolas Pepe – 7
    Somehow persevered long enough to help bundle the ball in off Christian Fuchs to break the deadlock.
    Showed some nice touches in the second half when he was far more influential.
    Eddie Nketiah – 8

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    Eddie Nketiah celebrates his late goalCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Always keen to run in behind and linked up well with Saka and Nelson.
    Wes Morgan’s heroic goalline clearance had prevented him nabbing a goal before he stabbed home a well-deserved strike after 90 minutes.
    Reiss Nelson – 7
    Constant threat cutting in from the left and sending gorgeous curling efforts goal-bound off his right foot.
    Spurned a glorious opportunity all alone in the box after 30 minutes and his team-mates could be heard bemoaning his final product at times.

    SUBS
    Willian (on for Nelson, 72) – 6
    Dani Ceballos (on for Willock, 78) – 6
    Hector Bellerin (on for Saka, 87) – N/A

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